This past Thursday, September 21, my piano students performed their Fall Recital,
...and oh, how sweet the post-recital relief that follows, the upbeat feeling that we pulled it off - which indeed, we did, Gott sei Dank,
...to the advanced,
...to the most advanced, who whipped through their ragtime pieces,
...to those of us most advanced in piano years and experience,
And so beautifully performed pieces at whatever our skill level is what we aim for,
...up until that last rehearsal-room practice,
Then, when it's all over,
This last-ditch effort to wipe out the Affordable Care Act no matter the cost in lives and money has been such an under-cover operation, such a hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye move conceived in haste and led by the two senators who get to have their name on the bill,
...that no one had even heard about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill until a few days ago.
This is doubtless not what Graham and Cassidy would have wished. They doubtless would have wished, rather, that no one at all had heard about their bill,
Quickly because, for some reason that I don't claim to understand, if the bill is voted on by September 30 it will need only fifty Senate votes to pass, but after that date it will need sixty votes.
And sixty votes for this ugly thing ain't gonna happen nohow.
But fifty votes might well happen, even though:
- The Congressional Budget Office hasn't had enough time to give the bill a score.
- The bill has received no Senate hearings.
- The cutback in Medicare expansion, federal subsidies and other cutbacks and the switch to state-by-state block grants will cause 15 million or more people will lose their heath care.
- AARP, The American Medical Association, The American Hospital Association, The American Pediatric Association, The American Cancer Society, and every other medical association in this country have come out against Graham-Cassidy.
- a dozen governors, six of them Republicans, have come out against Graham-Cassidy,
And just as a nasty little touch, under Graham-Cassidy, the states that have successfully expanded insurance coverage the Affordable Care Act will be punished by having healthcare funds cut while the states that refused Obamacare Medicaid expansion will be rewarded with and increase in funding.
Under Graham-Cassidy 34 states will their insurance funding cut by billions, including the eight Red states that implemented the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
The attitude towards Graham-Cassidy among Senate Republicans appears to be, "Uh, well, uh, yeah, we don't really understand it, it doesn't look great, or anything, but, meh, we'll vote for it anyway because, like, you know, we promised our base we'd do something to get Obama's name off healthcare."
Even if it means thousands among their base would die under Graham-Cassidy from an inability to afford necessary healthcare.
...the Graham-Cassidy Apocalypse will do the job.
FEED YOUR BODY AND MIND!
I will be MC-ing the Your Book My Book Authors & Wiɇnṋers Open Mic/Book Signing at Dirty Frank's, 2836 W. Broad St, Columbus, OH, on September 24, 2017 from 11am - 1pm.
Come meet the local authors and have some great food!
The Columbus Landmarks Foundation, an organization of historians and local residents that promotes the preservation of historic Columbus neighborhoods and structures, is sponsoring a series of free walking tours called Culture Walks through old historic city neighborhoods for the purpose of encouraging the re-discovery and revitalization of these once-vibrant areas which have undergone the changes and sometimes ravages of time.
This past Saturday Tom and I did the first of these walks, the King-Lincoln Culture Walk.
King-Lincoln, also known as (though I didn't know this before the walk) Bronzeville, is a historically African-American neighborhood just east of downtown that was once the heart of black culture and community in Columbus.
The walk began on Long Street at the Lincoln Theater, once the only theater in Columbus that allowed blacks entrance,
Before the walk began we were given lectures on the area's history by several local historic preservationists,
After their lectures the preservationists led us on the Culture Walk,
...along which we passed some beautiful old restored homes,
...to our first stop, the Shiloh Baptist Church at the corner of Hamilton and Mt Vernon Avenue,
...dating back to its ancestor congregations before the Civil War, among which there was a split when it was decided that this church would be a slave-free church, meaning that as a condition for joining the church, any black former slave-owners who moved up to Columbus from the South would be required to buy back the slaves they'd sold and give them their freedom.
This building, we learned, started out as a hospital, then became the Hotel St. Clair, which in the days of segregation was the premier Columbus hotel for people of color and housed celebrities, entertainers, and musicians, as well as people who wanted to spend an evening in a fine hotel. An elderly woman in the group told us that she spent her honeymoon in the Hotel St. Clair. The price was $5 a night.
This landmark building was purchased last year by a local entrepreneur who has renovated it into apartments.
We then walked back to Mt. Vernon Avenue and continued our walk,
Mt. Vernon Avenue.
Along the way we passed The soon-to-open Container Project, which is to be an outdoor theater and concessions stand made of shipping containers.
Our next stop was the A Cut Above The Rest barbershop,
...who talked to us about his work and the history of the beautiful murals that adorn the walls of his shop.
We continued up Mt. Vernon Avenue past 22nd Street and Ohio Avenue then made a right onto Champion Avenue and walked to our next stop, Poindexter Village.
Built in 1940, Poindexter Village was the nation's first public housing complex and was for decades a thriving African-American community nicknamed "The Blackberry Patch."
From Champion Avenue we turned the corner that brought us back to Long Street,
...which brought us to our last stop,
...a recently renovated and still thriving commercial building built in the 1920's by two black entrepreneurs.
Our tour was then over so we continued down Long Street until we arrived at the Lincoln Theater,
Come feed your body and mind!
It's true that these are times of great trial, that every day in our country seems like just another daily episode of "The Donald Trump Theater of the Absurd, Dangerous, and Cruel,"
But if there's one bright side amidst the gloom, it's that from these inauspicious times has arisen in our country a veritable Golden Age of Political Satire, nor should this be surprising; for when in this country,
...have comedians been gifted with such a mother lode of material?
And, in truth, our comedians help us through times such as these.
I've more recently discovered the cheering effects of another gem of a musical political satirist who's come into his own with the rise of Trump:
Randy Rainbow - that's his real name (his father was a musician named Gerry Rainbow) - is a YouTube comedian, actor, singer and writer who makes the most hilarious videos, usually with himself starring as a newscaster with a gay persona who breaks into song - in the clearest, smoothest, most golden-voiced tenor - while covering the Trump White House.
In fact, why Randy Rainbow is singing on Youtube instead of Broadway is a mystery; but it's our gain, because his parodies of Broadway and pop tunes are not only hilarious, but smart, sharp and hit their target dead-center.
There are dozens of Randy Rainbow videos, but here are the links to a few of them:
So if you need a good laugh to get you through these times, go ahead and check out Randy Rainbow with the warning that after one video you may become immediately hooked. Still, if you do that's okay - there are plenty more of his terrifically funny videos to be seen on Youtube.
...gathered to together to help him move from his old space in Gahanna,
But that move was actually a good year and a half ago, on March 12, 2016, and this past Saturday there was a re-convening of some of the old members of the old Awesome-Friend Moving Crew with one new member:
...to once again help Tommy leave the old place,
Moving day started early, around 8 am, when Tommy arrived in our driveway with a good-sized U-Haul to pick up some things that Tom and I, in proper parental mode, had been storing.
Several hours later when the truck was all packed up,
...the guys headed over to the new apartment to unload while I stayed behind at the old apartment,
Then it was time for a lunch break.
For lunch those of the crew who didn't have to leave after the first shift headed over to an up-and-coming downtown Columbus neighborhood called Olde Towne East,
...where there are gardens planted along the sidewalk,
...where the decor was awesome,
...the food was very good,
...but the service was the pits. Even though the restaurant was practically empty we waited well over an hour and a half for our pizza to arrive. Which was probably why the restaurant was empty on a Saturday afternoon.
By the time we finished lunch - which we hadn't planned on taking so long - it was late afternoon, but we still had the the second half of the job to tackle, that is, now moving Emily's possessions (Emily, by the dictates of Providence, had to work this Saturday),
...to the new apartment.
Tommy and Emily's new apartment is in a Brewery District complex called Brewer's Yard,
...had arrived to join the moving crew,
By 7 pm the most of the crew had gone home and by 7:30 Tom and I were likewise ready to call it a day. So we did.
We arrived home dog-tired, finally understanding what was meant by a hard day's night.
I will be hosting the Your Book My Book Authors & Wiɇnṋers Open Mic/Book Signing at Dirty Frank's, 2836 W. Broad St, Columbus, OH, on September 24, 2017 from 11am - 1pm
Early this morning after waking up, turning on my mind and scrolling down my mental calendar to find nothing of particular note, only the routine agenda of Monday stuff - yoga class, housework, writing,
...teaching, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner - I then turned on my computer and began scrolling down my Facebook page until I came across a post from my niece-in-law, Suzie.
Suzie had posted this striking photograph above the caption "The Falling Man":
As is my habit (and I suspect not mine alone) I headed straight for the picture without reading the script that went with the picture. I was captivated by the image.
A whimsical bit of trompe l'oeil art photography, I thought, and I positioned the pointer-arrow over the "Like" icon below the post.
Then I glanced at the quote below the photograph:
Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.
I was immediately hit with what day this is and with the sickly realization of what it was that this photograph - no flight of an artist's fancy - had captured. I had a vague memory of having seen this picture when it was published a few days after September 11 sixteen years ago.
I opened the link accompanying the picture and was brought to an article published in Esquire called "The Falling Man." The article chronicled the capturing of this photograph, the shock it generated world-wide, its immediate disappearance and the efforts to learn the identity of the man falling through the air from the top of the burning North Tower, a horrifically beautiful backdrop for a man fast descending to his death.
The article covers an aspect of the death and destruction of that day that was not greatly chronicled because it was too terrible for people to absorb: that among the almost 3,000 souls who died that day, it's likely that one in six jumped to their death from one of the burning Twin Towers.
Later this morning I watched on television the memorial ceremony at the Pentagon honoring the 9/11 first-responders and mourning the lives lost in the terrorist attacks on that day. I recalled what I was doing when I head the heart-stopping news that planes had crashed into the first Tower then the second: I was finishing up my packing for a plane trip later in the day to visit my sister in San Francisco.
It's true that the years go by and the space of time threatens - for those of us who weren't there or who didn't lose one close to their heart - to dull our memory of Septemeber 11, 2001. But I believe, as I've always believed, that September 11 should be for all Americans a day, not of patriotic rally or celebration of our undeniable strength, power and military superiority on this planet, but rather a day of somber national reflection, remembrance, and of pondering of the conflict and bloodshed that followed from that day of terror and grief and continues to this day with no end in sight.
Here's the link to "The Falling Man":
Take 15 minutes to read it. And in contemplating the images, the sorrow and the never-ending questions this piece raises of a day 16 years ago that started out so normally for the world and has changed it so immeasurably since, you will have paid, as well as you can, this day and all those who lost their lives to it their due.
But amidst all the gas-bagging that went down during that primary,
...John Kasich's voice was, unfortunately, never really heard.
Still Candidate John Kasich managed to succeed, where all the other Republican primary candidates failed, to compete with Donald Trump without once selling his soul or having his soul sucked out of him, without sacrificing his dignity or integrity or having his reputation splattered with the mud that stains virtually everyone who comes anywhere near Donald Trump's orbit.
And though he may have lost his chance at the Presidency, John Kasich has found his voice since, speaking out freely and fearlessly against the injustices and wrong-headed policies promoted by the man who is not only the most powerful man in Kasich's own party, but, in truth, the most powerful man in the world.
This John Kasich did several days ago when he spoke out strongly and passionately against Donald Trump's plan to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama Administration's policy allowing certain illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children - "Dreamers," as these children are called - to receive a deferment from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
"Think about this, " said Kasich Tuesday on CBS This Morning, "this is the United States of America and we're putting kids, young people, who are contributors, in jeopardy. This is not the America that we all love!"
Calling it "a simple moral issue" Kasich took the part of the 800,00 young people who are now in danger of being uprooted from the only life they've ever known to be deported to a country foreign to them. "They ought to have permanent resident status, they ought to be able to stay here," Kasich said of these young people,
...adding that Congress should be able to settle this issue for the Dreamers now, in six hours, not six months from now.
Kasich then invited all Dreamers to come to Ohio where, he says, they will be welcomed. "We want all the immigrants to come to Ohio 'cause we know how much they contribute to America!"
Here's the link. Watch it for yourself. See you're not moved:
I'll admit there have been times when I haven't loved our Governor. But today I do.
I will be hosting the Authors & Wiɇnṋers Open Mic/Book Signing at Dirty Frank's, 2836 W. Broad St, Columbus, OH, on September 24, 2017 from 11am - 1pm.
The day before yesterday while scrolling down my Facebook page I came across the above photograph, haunting and beautiful, taken by Alisa Looney,
I was captivated by the picture and, thinking the script written above it was a little commentary on the provenance of the photo (which it was), I read only the first sentence, "Orange moon in Portland," without reading the rest. I likewise didn't read any of the comments but just left a comment of my own: "Pretty."
A little while later I checked my phone to see that I had a voice message from Romaine asking me if I knew what was going on in Portland.
I didn't, so I immediately called her to find out. She told me that at that moment outside her window the skies were dark and ash was falling from the skies like black snow flakes. Inside her house the air was hazy from the ash that had seeped in and was settling onto everything.
Outside the temperature was 90 degrees, though the sunshine couldn't break through the layer of ash overlaying the sky.
Portland was suffering, and continues to suffer, the effects of the Eagle Creek Wildfire, which sparked to life last Saturday in the Columbia River Gorge 30 miles east of Portland,
...into an inferno,
..that has destroyed forests, homes and structures along the Gorge,
...and has forced the evacuations of hundreds of homes,
It is believed that a 15-year-old visiting the area with a group of friends last Saturday threw a firecracker into the Gorge, which set off flames on the dry wood of the drought-stricken trees. He and his friends posted the prank online.
The fire has been creeping west towards Portland and has caused the closure of Interstate 84 between the Columbia River Gorge and the city. It is believed that, though beneficial wind conditions and a good rain could come along to help contain the fire's reach, The Eagle Creek Wildfire will continue to burn at least until the end of the month with little firefighters can do to contain it in its immensity.
....while I think of my sister and pray for a miracle that could blow a hurricane 3,500 miles northwest.
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Dear Future Cyberarchivist who, while sifting through ancient internet postings from bygone centuries in search of history, has come across this blog chronicling the events and observations of a typical day-to-day life in the first quarter of the 21st Century AD:
On August 25, 2017, about a week and a half ago from when I write this, a terrible natural disaster hit our planet in the form a monster hurricane that we named Hurricane Harvey.
Though Hurricane Harvey was born days earlier as a tropical storm that had been sweeping its way northward through the smaller seas of the Atlantic Ocean, it swelled into the destructive behemoth it was to become only after it hit land on the the eastern coast of Texas, a state on the southwestern coast of the country where I live, a country known at this time as the United States of America.
Unlike typical hurricanes that ferociously blow their way across land areas, weakening in energy and force as they travel until they finally dissipate into the atmosphere, Harvey rather blustered along the eastern Texas seaboard until it arrived above the city of Houston where it stalled and sluggishly churned for several days, in a short time dumping almost 50 inches of rain over the city.
Houston, a city of almost 2 1/2 million people but with over 5 1/2/ million living in its metropolitan area, is at this time the 4th largest city in the United States.
The devastation inflicted upon Houston and its environs,
But the hearts of our nation went out to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and there was a compassionate outpouring from all over the country of aid, money and countless volunteers into the afflicted areas,
...people opened their homes to strangers in distress,
...and small boat owners from all over the area contiguous seacoast states, who became known as the Cajun Navy, arrived with their boats to rescue stranded victims of the hurricane's flood.
It was a moment in time when we joined together as a nation in our care, concern, prayers and help for the victims of Hurricane Harvey,
And yet alongside the suffering and rush of efforts to bring its alleviation, arose some grand ironies.
Five years earlier a devastating hurricane called Hurricane Sandy had hit the coastline of the state of New Jersey, and at that time,
The current elected leader of our country - though many say not fairly elected, as our country's election law contains a strange twist which does not necessarily hand election victory to the candidate who wins the most votes, as this man did not, his opponent having actually received 3 million more votes than he did -
A bigot who has given succor to those low-lifes who embrace a hateful ethos of white supremacy that is currently infecting our nation, Donald Trump's platform has been to insult Mexico, the neighboring country to the south of our Texas border, to call Mexicans bad people, and to rid our country without exception of all undocumented Mexican immigrants, even those who were brought to this country as babies.
Donald Trump has promised to build a massive, 2,000-mile, 15 billion dollar wall between the United States and Mexico.
And yet in response to Hurricane Harvey's devastation the Mexican government has been sending food, boats, vehicles and other aid to help the people of Texas, and has offered continued aid, which the Governor of Texas has gratefully accepted.
No thank you from Donald Trump has yet been extended to Mexico.
Other ironies will play out as this cataclysmic event goes down in history, among them one irony having to do with Texans' historical hostility towards the Federal government whose aid they now desperately need , another rising from former animosity towards undocumented immigrants, every one of whom will now be needed to help rebuild this devastated state.
It is hypothesized that the destruction wreaked upon one of this country's largest population centers, including the residual damage to infrastructure, diminished production of Texas's oil, which the whole nation depends upon, and the region's need for probably 150 billion dollars in government aid, could change the whole political landscape of the United States.
And even as I write this another new hurricane called Hurricane Irma is threatening another round of devastation, this time to Florida, a state along our country's southeastern seaboard.
Whether these natural disasters our country is now suffering change us for the better, worse, or not at all is something that we here in the United States in 2017 cannot know.
Only you, unknown archivist of the future, do.
...Continued fro yesterday:
Here are some things that I didn't know about Florida before my visit:
1. There's water, water, everywhere, not just along the island-ringed seacoast, but inland, as well.
2. Florida is a big sponge with water seeping out of the sponge-holes.
3. Any body, large or small, of fresh water in Florida is fair game for alligators.
4. Alligators are not aggressive and will not bother you if you don't bother them. But this I did not believe. Hence everywhere we walked around the island of Lido Key I thought I saw an alligator.
In truth, the only actual alligator I saw on the island
...whom I strongly sensed was trying to think of a way to get out of that pen and get me.
5. Above the beautiful Florida palms float the most magnificent clouds I've ever seen. So I developed a dual-Florida obsession, of which I couldn't stop snapping pictures:
Too bad the place is crawling with alligators.
6. If you'd like to see some nice statues, some good statues that don't carry any more weight than the stone they're made of, come to St. Armands Circle, the island center within the island of Lido Key (See post from 8/29/2017).
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
is available at
Kindle Edition, and